Guest Blog: Digital Archives Specialist Certification

Apr 10, 2017



CoSA thanks guest blogger, Suzanne Stasiulatis, Pennsylvania State Archives (PSA), for sharing her experiences on receiving the Society of American Archivists’ Digital Archives Specialist certificate, and other experiences attending CoSA/SERI-sponsored training.

The Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) program gave me a broad knowledge base of tested concepts, while delving into specific concentrated topics that tend to be pain-points for digital archivists. The Pennsylvania State Archives is evaluating multiple digital preservation systems and work processes now. The DAS program gave me the knowledge and skills to participate in planning and testing. I use my knowledge every day to spark conversations with colleagues about issues of contention or issues that don’t affect us yet but may down the road. I use knowledge about other institutions methods to act as a leveler, encourage us to question our own processes, and consider new ways of doing things. I also confidently express knowledge about essential well-accepted principals and best practices for a strong digital archives program. My colleagues and supervisors were nothing but supportive and sought out CoSA/SERI scholarships to help achieve my goal.

Our institution received funding from the IMLS grant for SERI Education this past summer/fall to take four DAS classes. Two of the classes were from categories I still needed to fulfill to sit for the final exam. About nine staff members viewed these and other CoSA-sponsored webinars as a group in our conference room. We were very thankful to be able to enroll in the courses. We also attended two DAS classes in the first round of SERI scholarships for SAA and AIIM classes in the summer of 2015. We had access to two free classes from a list of options, and chose the metadata class and the PDF/A class.

I could complete the DAS requirements without breaking the bank, because the PSA had access to DAS classes through CoSA SERI scholarships, and the free classes helped meet my quota. I had to personally pay for the exams for each class, though, since the PSA does not sponsor testing for certifications. Besides the six webinars I viewed at the PSA, I took several classes at my own expense, including three in-person classes and a number of other webinars. I successfully sat for the comprehensive exam in November.

The PSA staff has also viewed CoSA/SERI/Preservica Joint Training Program webinars. I felt the DAS classes gave a strong foundation and overarching themes to become literate in digital archives issues. With the knowledge I gained from the DAS classes, I more fully understood the discussion points from other state archives speakers. The CoSA/SERI/Preservica webinars were valuable because the content included actual practical real-life experiences. This was different from the DAS classes, but showed one way to apply principles.

 I want to thank CoSA for the help in achieving my goal to complete DAS certification. Classes I took in 2015 as part of CoSA’s SERI IMLS grant (and some recommendations from friends who have gone through the program) inspired me to go after the certificate.   -Suzanne


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